Darlene Pscheidell Kwarta applies for a job and gets it easily. Well, it seems no other person applied for the position. She is upbeat and determined to make the best of it. What follows is a vocation, working as a teacher for a multi-handicapped class of junior high kids. In this spellbinding, oftentimes heartbreaking, and inspiring memoir, the author shares her experience with Children who were often shut out because of their handicaps or other forms of limitations. This book is about teachers who open new worlds and possibilities for these kids, a page-turning narrative.
Once There Was a Child by Darlene Pscheidell Kwarta follows the journey of a teacher who was inspired by the story of Helen Keller and a movie about a teacher who made a difference. Her childhood experience constitutes part of her inspiration. As a child, she never felt like she fully belonged. She has always been pulled towards those who were outcasts, especially Joe from the neighborhood from whom she learned sign language. In this brilliantly rendered memoir, Kwarta offers a vividly drawn portrait of what a classroom filled with deaf children is like, introducing characters that instantly catch the attention of readers. Every day, something exceptional happens — a catastrophe, a humorous incident, a surprising discovery — but every day, these kids discover new doors and their worlds become bigger thanks to wonderful people who are there to make a difference in their lives. From the principal who is known as “the Big guy” to the students — Jackson, Autumn, Kat, Jazz, Jacob, and the others — Kwarta introduces readers to characters they will see differently. This book is a powerful inspiration for those called to the nurture and education of children with disabilities. Once There Was a Child is written in great prose and features memorable moments.